Hills of Fire and Shotgun Honey

I’m thrilled to announce that my story “Rockridge Ringer” will appear in Hills of Fire: Bare-Knuckle Yarns of Appalachia later this year from Woodland Press, edited by Frank Larnerd. That one of my tales set in West Virginia passed muster with a native is honor enough, but sharing print with Frank in a Woodland Press book is even sweeter. I won’t tell you much about the story, but it involves two ex-cons fighting bare knuckle in a holler for a crooked sheriff. And there’s bikers, go-go girls and… well, you’ll just have to read it. And it stars Jay Desmarteaux, the lead in Bury the Hatchet.

And on Friday, my story “From the Heart” appeared in Shotgun Honey, one of my favorite online venues, and where I made my crime fiction debut (in this decade. My first was in Blue Murder, a long defunct online zine). It’s a short short (under 500 words) about the heart of a bluesman. I wrote the first version in 1999 or earlier. Though the story is utterly different, I was inspired somewhat by Harlan Ellison’s “Paulie Charmed the Sleeping Woman” and the down dirty Chicago blues from Andrew Vachss’s Burke series, the movie Thief, and so on. I rewrote it when I rediscovered it in May, but the basics and the voice didn’t change much. I think your voice is something you can develop, but not really change. You may have a few of them, with different tones, but the heart behind them is the same.